Like a regular Ruth Reichl I arrived unannounced to sample the breakfast menu at the 2-month-old East Ivy café, brought to you by the owners of the highly rated Lux Foundry in the hipster capital of Melbourne…Brunswick. My past life as a mystery shopper came in handy as I surreptitiously surveyed my surroundings and played the part of a regular Ivanhoe East resident popping in for a spot of breakfast.
Upon entering East Ivy I was warmly greeted by the head waitress and was offered my choice of seat as well as the morning paper. Nice touch, you usually need to fend for yourself in retrieving the paper. I declined the paper though, preferring instead to peruse the menu and observe my fellow patrons. The menu was on point with up to the minute options including chia pudding pots, a breakfast salad, quinoa and amaranth fritters and for the gin lovers there is a Hendrick's cured salmon dish. Popular staples such as the ever-present avo on toast and the comforting Dr Marty’s crumpets help round out a great cross section of breakie options. There are even items for the kiddies, which being a family neighbourhood, is a great idea. I always love the kid’s menu and if I was a few feet shorter would have chosen the kid’s cheese toastie.
But alas I am no longer a child in appearance, only mind, so therefore I made the responsible decision of the super food coconut porridge. After all I was on my way to go bridesmaid shoe shopping and this would require lots of stamina. To keep up with my zen like breakfast I chose a matching tea from Larsen & Thompson, the peppermint would do nicely. These guys are Victorian and put together a really lovely drop. The also make an appearance at the divine Second Home in Eltham.
In the short wait that it took for my generous serve of creamy porridge topped with sour cherries, kirsch, hazlenuts and cacao nibs to arrive, I took the opportunity to suss out the locals. For East Ivy is not a destination café, rather it is perfectly located to stroll from your leafy Ivanhoe East home with your Labrador and toddler in tow. Being an out of towner, I was the only one who seemed to arrive via a gas guzzler. Everyone else’s serene mode of arrival made for a casual, relaxed feel of a Sunday morning catch up over the paper. A steady stream of regulars made themselves at home, single men, in number, not marital status, had been sent to hunt for Proud Mary coffee or even a Vietnamese coffee to bring home. Couples, in relationship status, not number, grouped inside for a quiet breakfast and I believe I witnessed a first date occurring, how cute. Families wisely chose the outdoor seating where they could kick back whilst Max sat by their feet and little Connor chomped on his toastie.
Being in the ground floor of an apartment building limits the natural light but the fit out is text book Melbourne café with exposed ceiling, singular hanging globes, concrete floors, blond wood tables with black French style café chairs and a pop of green with the banquets. This will immediately give city slickers a sense that everything is going to be all right, even if they have strayed more than 5km from the CBD. The staff are very polite and the food well timed, water is refilled as though you are in a restaurant, another nice touch. The soundtrack is Justin Timberlake meets jamiroquai with a side of Pharrell. And like all good Melbourne cafes there is something scrumptious at the counter for you to take away from muffins, to lamingtons or a cup cake or two. Coffee beans can be taken away too.
So to my lovely readers in East Ivanhoe, this one’s for you and for my Melbourne peeps, if you do find yourself out this way and don’t wish to fall foul of a non-Melbourne café experience, this is the place for you too.
Thanks to Megan Luscombe from The Ideas Library for assigning me this secret mission and to East Ivy for your hospitality.
6 Burton Cres, Ivanhoe East
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